Traverse City: Empty Bowls Chicken Vegetable Orzo Soup Recipe

Eat soup and help end hunger.

That’s the premise of this year’s Empty Bowls event, taking place on Sunday, Nov. 8 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Hagerty Center in Traverse City. Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan is the presenting sponsor of the event.

Community bowl-making events were held throughout October. The handcrafted creations made by community members symbolize the many hungry people around the world whose bowls are empty. At the Sunday event, guests will be served a meal of soup and bread and will take one of the bowls home.

The day will also include a silent auction with donations from local businesses and artists. Proceeds from the day will support Food Rescue of Northwest Michigan.

Tickets can be purchased at the event. If you can’t make it, feel free to make a donation to Food Rescue of Northwest Michigan here. Here’s a recipe for one of the soups that will be served on Sunday, a collaboration between Goodwill Northern Michigan, The Father Fred Foundation, and Traverse City High School students.

Chicken Vegetable Orzo Soup


  • 2 TB olive oil
  • 1 TB unsalted butter
  • 1 medium sweet onion, diced
  • 2 stalks celery, diced
  • 2 carrots, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 2 parsnips (or other root vegetable), diced
  • 1 can diced tomatoes
  • 4 sprigs fresh thyme, de-stemmed and chopped
  • 2 dried bay leaves
  • Pinch of dried Herbs de Provence
  • Cracked black pepper, to taste
  • Chef’s salt, to taste (60% Kosher salt, 20% garlic powder, 10% onion powder, and 10% white pepper)
  • 8 oz. dried orzo pasta
  • 2 quarts chicken stock
  • 1 ½ cups pulled chicken from roasted whole fryer


Heat stock pot on medium to high heat and add olive oil and butter. Add onions, garlic and sauté until translucent. Add bay leaves, fresh thyme and stir. Add celery, carrots and parsnips; stir well and cook until edges begin to soften.

Add chicken stock and turn heat to high. Bring to a boil; then reduce heat to medium. Add Herbs de Provence, cracked black pepper and pulled chicken. Add diced tomatoes; season to taste with chef’s salt. Add blanched orzo pasta.

What’s your favorite kind of soup to warm up with? 

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Photo credit: William Warby

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